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The Policy Role of
the United States
in South Asia:

Constraints & Opportunities for Pakistan
Columnist TAUQEER H. TAKI SIRGANA analyzes the foreign policy objectives
of the US in South Asia and its impact on Pakistan.

The ongoing strategic review in U.S. foreign policy objectives has recently unveiled a new US policy for Pakistan, and Afghanistan to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat the Al-Qaeda. This confused and ambiguous strategic thought based on usually failed intelligence further states that the Al-Qaeda is actively planning attacks on US from safe havens in Pakistan. Unfolding a new US strategy to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda, US President Obama said that Pakistan must be ‘stronger partner’ in destroying Al-Qaeda safe havens. In this connection, he said Pakistan would be provided financial assistance of 1.5 billion dollars each year for the next five years. Will it work or not? Is Obama trying to meet with increasing challenges of terrorism or is he promoting the very best interests of U.S. in the region? Both questions are not time-tested as today political means have nothing to do with statements or actions. What is important to understand about the U.S. interests in the region is their history........more

A New Dawn
Columnist Gp Capt SM HALI (Retd) reviews the new book of pictorial
history on the PAF.

The title of the article would imply that I was alluding to the emancipation of Pakistan’s judiciary and the restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and other deposed judges; however, the reference is to PAF’s new book with the same title. ‘The Pakistan Air Force 1998-2008: A New Dawn’ was launched by the outgoing Air Chief, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Tanvir Mahmood Ahmad a day before the handed the mantle of PAF’s command to his successor Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman. ‘A new dawn’ is the fifth in the series of books on PAF history, the first being ‘History of the Pakistan Air Force 1947-1982’ by Syed Shabbir Husain and Squadron Leader M. Tariq Qureshi. It was followed by ‘Battle for Pakistan’ by John Fricker, essentially an account of the 1965 Pak-India War. Not satisfied with the 1947-1982 history, which was compiled in the era of ACM Anwar Shamim, a new account was commissioned by ACM Jamal A Khan. Thus ‘The Story of the Pakistan Air Force’ was compiled by Air Commodore M Zafar Masood, euphemistically known as “Mitty Masood”, covering the era 1947-1988. ACM PQ Mehdi asked Air Marshal Rashid Sheikh to compile ‘The Story of The Pakistan Air Force 1988-1998’, which was launched in 2000.......more

ECO: Prospects and Constraints
Columnist MEHMOOD-UL-HASSAN KHAN reviews the recently concluded
ECO Summit in Tehran.

We The 10th summit meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) was held in Tehran on March 11 wherein the need to establish a free trade area in ECO region by 2015 was stressed upon. According to the ECO’s trade agreement all the member countries should lower trade duties to 15% on 80% of goods traded within eight years. ECO is an international organization composed of 10 countries namely, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari attended the meeting. He acknowledged the significance of regional cooperation as an essential mechanism to accelerate economic and social progress, development and stability in the region. He reaffirmed his commitment to ECO’s goals and objectives as envisaged in the Izmir Treaty, the ECO vision 2015 and other basic documents as well as the declarations of the previous summit meetings.

India's Top Secret N - Submarine Project
Columnist AHMAD HAROON outlines some features of the ATV, India's first Nuclear Submarine that is nearing completion.

In India’s super secret nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) programme, known as the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project is near completion. 
For over a quarter of a century, the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) has been among the most highly-classified government programmes, it was announced publicly only in Dec, 2007 when the Indian naval chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, became the first government official to officially confirm the existence of the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV).
Construction of the 5,000-tonne ATV, a modified version of the Russian submarine Charlie-II class is now nearly complete, and will be launched for sea trials this year and is expected to be inducted into service around 2010-11. Plans are underway for a production line consisting of five ATVs; the second one will start building in Vizag as soon as the first is launched.
The nuclear submarine is being built at the naval shipyard at Visakhapatnam port on the Bay of Bengal and is a joint project involving several government and private organisations, including the Navy, the Defence Research and Development Organisation once headed by former president Abdul Kalam, and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, which is the main facility for producing India’s nuclear bombs.......more

How to Be Firm in Faith?
The Nine Pragmatic Principles
Columnist Brig AFTAB AHMAD KHAN ® dilates upon the nine principles identified by renowned scholar Shaikh Ali Al-Tantawi that help to create firmness in Faith through pragmatic conviction.

“There shall be no coercion in the matters of Faith. Distinct has now become the right way form error:”
(Qur’an 2:256)

“He throws filth (of disbelief) on those who do not use their reason”.
(Qur’an 10:100)

It is a common observation that generally people do not take much interest in religious studies which may also be attributed to their wavering faith. Imagine if majority of people in society firmly have faith in One God, the accountability, reward and punishment on the Day of Judgement, we should have found this world in a state of ‘peace’ not turmoil. The faith is not fixed in its character, it may increase or decrease: “..they were youths who believed in their Lord and We advanced them in guidance:” (Qur’an 18:13). The foundation of faith in Islam (Iman) is the belief in God (Allah) which is characterized by three main aspects, firstly, God is the Cherisher and the creator of the Universe and all that it holds; Secondly, God alone is the Master of this world and He alone can make modifications in it as He wishes and thirdly, God alone is worthy of worship, He has no associates and there is no one besides him to be worshipped. Before making an effort to understand this and other fundamentals of faith, it is imperative to comprehend the circumstances which influence the genesis of these fundamentals which are responsible for their arrangement and anthology.......more

Exploring Media Framing on Talibanization
in Pakistan

Columnist Dr SYED ABDUL SIRAJ conducts an evaluation of the Pakistani media's strategy in reporting the conflict between the Taliban and security forces.

The Pakistani media gives an unfavorable rather than a favorable slant to Taliban in the overall coverage. The four most prominent indicators of framing Taliban in war journalism were ‘differences-oriented’, ‘elite-oriented’, ‘dichotomy of good guy and bad guy’ and ‘zero-sum-oriented’. The four most salient indicators supporting Taliban in peace journalism frame were ‘solution-oriented’, ‘people-oriented’, ‘causes and effects’ and ‘multi-party oriented’.

Taliban ranks consist of local tribesmen, students of religious seminaries and few foreigner Jihadis who are against the Pakistani government for its support in the war on terror and want an Islamic system in the areas of their control. This study takes Taliban as being the Pakistani Taliban who may have resemblance with those who ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s. They along with other Afghans and foreigners defeated the then USSR army in Afghanistan. After the Soviets’ defeat in Afghanistan, the Taliban got control over most of the territory of Afghanistan in 1996 and imposed a combination of Islamic rigid laws and Pashto fundamental culture/traditional values. This stringency in governance earned a lot of animosity for them......more

Free V/S Responsible Media
Role of academia in bringing a change

Dr SEEMI NAGHMANA TAHIR focuses upon the declining standard of media and the role of academia in bringing about a change.

For almost 41 years the Media in Pakistan had to confront the restrictions on them. There were major policy shifts in the years 1988 and 2002, paving the way for a comparatively free print and electronic media in the country. Consequently there was a mushroom growth in the field. The masses welcomed the openness with a lot of enthusiasm that brought a great sense of participation in the public affairs among them. After passage of few years new questions have started arising regarding the role of media in general and the electronic media in particular with regard to credibility, quality and objectivity of the content vis-à-vis a sense of responsibility on part of the media itself. These issues though directly related to the ethical debates going on globally but at the same time have become a matter of great concern for the academia as well. The role of academia in providing skilled professionals for the media on the other hand has always been undermined by the media industry throughout the world. Having more stress on training instead of teaching, they had expressed strong reservations on teaching and training patterns of Mass Communication or Media Studies at institutional level. This paper will critically explore the various issues the media landscape in Pakistan is confronted with, especially the way the media is utilizing its most cherished freedom. This author will also analyze the way this newly found freedom could be linked with a sense of responsibility on part of the media for the society it serves. The Universities and other institutions have a greater role to play in this connection, and need to have even more stress on teaching of theoretical perspectives and separate courses on media effects and also on mass media ethics, this author feels.

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